Uzbekistan & Tajikistan: Samarkand & The Fan Mountains

Uzbekistan & Tajikistan: Samarkand & The Fan Mountains

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13 Days From

$3731

$3563

Uzbekistan & Tajikistan: Samarkand & The Fan Mountains

13 Days

Visiting: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Tour operator:

Wild Frontiers

Tour code:

UZT

Group size:

4 - 12

Interests:

Cultural

From:
$3731
$3563 Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$168

NB: Prices correct on 20-May-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

This overland tour provides an effortless way to see the highlights of the two neighbouring countries, showcasing the best of Islamic architecture, Silk Road history and stunning mountain lakes that the region boasts.

Starting in Tashkent, we’ll cross the border to begin exploring the historic cities and accessible mountains of northwest Tajikistan. Entering and exiting via the ancient cities of Khodjent and Penjikent, we’ll begin with an introduction to the shared histories of the two countries, before spending time in the unspoiled landscapes of the Fan Mountains for some hiking during our homestay, and the turquoise waters of the Margazor Lakes. Next, the journey takes us to Uzbekistan and the enchanting UNESCO-protected architecture of Samarkand and Bukhara, including the captivating Registan Square. After four days strolling through the legendary streets and buildings of Uzbekistan’s great Silk Road, we’ll then come full circle, taking Central Asia’s first high-speed train back to Tashkent.

Central Asia often conjures up images of ancient bazaars, blue-tiled Islamic mosques and untouched mountain peaks. This tour pleasingly combines all of these and more, as we concentrate on the gems found either side of the Uzbek-Tajik border.

Highlights

  • Stay in a local guesthouse in the breathtakingly beautiful Fann Mountains

  • Marvel at the UNESCO treasure of Registan Square in Samarkand

  • Hike around the strikingly turquoise Margazor Lakes

  • Admire mesmerising mosaics and glittering minarets in Bukhara

  • Explore the ancient ruins of Penjikent and Khodjent

  • Shop at bustling bazaars in historic Silk Road cities

  • Discover the strikingly turquoise Margazor Lakes

Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1: Tour Starts In Tashkent (Uzbekistan)

Accommodation: City Palace Hotel or similar

Rooms will be available in Tashkent from this afternoon. Those arriving on the group flights will arrive in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Day 2: Tashkent: Theatre & Bazaar Cultural Visits

Accommodation: City Palace Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tashkent is Uzbekistan’s vibrant capital which sat at the heart of the old Central Asian trading routes, gaining prominence under the Mongols and the Shabanids, before finally being absorbed by the expansionist policies of the Russian empire during the 19th century. Flattened by a devastating earthquake in the mid-1960s, the city was reinvented by the Kremlin to represent the very epitome of the socialist ideal. This afternoon provides us with an opportunity to discover a little more of the Uzbek capital, with a tour of some of its highlights including the Khast Imam Complex, the stunning edifice of the Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Chorsu Bazaar, a vast open-air market that sits in the heart of the old part of the city.

Day 3: Tashkent – Khodjent (Tajikistan): Historic Highlights

Accommodation: Firuz Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Bidding a temporary farewell to Uzbekistan, this morning we’ll leave the capital and drive through rural towns to the border with Tajikistan. Completing border-crossing formalities, we’ll then continue on another hour to the Tajik city of Khodjent, which once played host to Alexander the Great’s armies. After some time for lunch, this afternoon’s tour around the city’s main sites provides an introduction to the shared Silk Road, Samanid and Soviet histories of the two countries.
Driving distance 170km, 3-4 hours approx.

Day 4: Khodjent – Fan Mountains: Istaravshan Old Town & Bazaar

Accommodation: Shahboz Homestay or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We’ll round up our time in Khodjent with a visit to the Sheikh Muslihiddin Memorial Complex and the central bazaar this morning. Our route then takes us up over the Shakristan Pass and through a 6km-long tunnel to arrive in the Fan Mountains. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty lying south of the Zarafshan River and the legendary Iskandar Kul (the lake of Alexander the Great, 2,200m). During the drive there’ll also be a stop at Istaravshan’s old town and welcoming bazaar, a great place to see local Tajiks and craftsmen at work. Tonight we’ll stay at a homestay in the beautiful village of Saratog, where the scenery is totally unspoilt.
Driving distance 260km, 4-5 hours approx.

Day 5: In Fan Mountains: Mountain Lakes

Accommodation: Shahboz Homestay or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We’ll have a full day to explore the famed alpine scenery of this rarely visited part of Central Asia. Abounding in deep blue lakes and inhabited in the summer months by Tajik pastoralists, the area is still relatively undiscovered and allows for a fascinating insight into this gem of a country.

Day 6: Fan Mountains – Penjikent: Ancient City & Ruins

Accommodation: Panjakent Plaza or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Descending from the Fan Mountains today, we will take the four-hour drive west into the greener Zerafshan valley and on to Penjikent, another of Tajikistan's historical highlights. It is also home to Penjikent Plov, known as the best in the country due to its unique local rice. This afternoon, we will start at the Ethnographic museum for an overview of the culture and history of this ancient city before heading to the city bazaar to meet some of the locals and soak up the atmosphere. Later, we head for the 2,000-year-old ruins of Penjikent. This Sogdian town was once home to 20,000 people during the early days of the Silk Road and in its on-site museum you can see some of the frescoes that once adorned the walls of the city's better homes. Wandering the ruined streets, you can easily imagine the goods-laden caravans that would have passed this way. Notable sites here include the ruler's fortified citadel, the Shakhristan (inner walled city), two Zoroastrian temples and the Necropolis.

Driving distance 190km, 3-4 hours approx.

Day 7: Penjikent: Margazor Lakes Day Trip

Accommodation: Panjakent Plaza or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We'll head out south to enjoy a full day at the picturesque Margazor Lakes; there are seven lakes in total, each a different tone of turquoise. The morning will be spent walking paths around the lakes of Mijgon, Soya, Hushyer and Nofin, taking in the stunning surrounding landscapes. We’ll stop by a traditional homestay in the scenic village of Padrud for some lunch and a rest. The afternoon then provides further opportunity for exploration of the lakes to make the most of our time here, returning to Penjikent for the evening.

Day 8: Penjikent – Samarkand (Uzbekistan): Via Sarazm Unesco Site

Accommodation: Malika Classic Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Our final Tajik excursion today will be en route to the Uzbek border. Sarazm is a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of the oldest settlements in Central Asia, and yet only began being excavated in 1976 after a local man was found to have secretly discovered a bronze axe. An exciting site to visit as discovery continues, with the religion of these people from over 5,500 years ago yet to become clear. We will then continue the short distance further to the Uzbek border before reaching the most famous of all Silk Road cities, Samarkand. Arriving by lunchtime, there will be time to explore the iconic Registan this afternoon, a sublime combination of three magnificent madrassahs overlooking a square for which this ancient city is so famous.

Driving distance 60km, 1-1.5 hours approx.

Day 9: Samarkand: Iconic Architecture & Wine Tasting

Accommodation: Malika Classic Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Once one of the greatest cities on earth, Samarkand is a name that resonates with the commerce and colour of the old Silk Road. Our tour of the city continues today with a visit to the Gur Emir Mausoleum, the final resting place of Tamerlane, the founder of the Timurid Empire. We’ll also take in the Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis and the giant 15th century Bibi-Khanym Mosque, once considered one of the most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world. After a chance to explore the bustling Siyob Bazaar, there will be some free time before we set out for wine-tasting at the Khovrenko Winery.

Day 10: Samarkand – Bukhara: Along The Great Silk Road

Accommodation: Sasha & Son or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we’ll drive along the Royal Road to Bukhara, stopping during the journey to look at the remains of an old caravanserai and to enjoy lunch. On arrival in Bukhara, we will familiarise ourselves with the town’s mellow streets and alleyways. There will be some free time before dinner this evening.
Driving distance 300km, 4-5 hours approx.

Day 11: Bukhara: Mosques, Madrassas & Crafts

Accommodation: Sasha & Son or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

We have all morning for sightseeing today. Starting with the Ismaili Samani Mausoleum, we will continue via the Jama Majid (or the mosque of forty pillars) to the Ark where Connolly and Stoddard – two luckless British officers – met their deaths while playing the Great Game. From here we will visit the historically important Zindan, followed by the Kolan Minaret and beautiful mosques and madrassas that lie beneath it. En route there is silk weaving, knife making and metal engraving. Lunch will form part of a cooking demo at a local restaurant. The remainder of the day will be free for shopping and generally relaxing in this most characterful of the old Silk Road towns.

Day 12: Bukhara – Tashkent: Train & Farewell Dinner

Accommodation: City Palace Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After the morning in Bukhara, we’ll take the afternoon high-speed train to Tashkent, arriving in the evening in time for our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 13: Tour Ends In Tashkent

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today those taking the suggested group flights will depart for the airport after breakfast. For those that have made alternative arrangements, the tour will finish after breakfast this morning.

What's Included

  • MEALS

    12 x Breakfasts11 x Lunches9 x Dinners

  • CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

    Contributions to climate and community projects for all bookings

  • TRANSPORT

    Minibuses and a train

  • GROUP SIZE

    Maximum: 12

  • EXPERT TEAM

    The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

  • ENTRANCE FEES

    All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

  • ACCOMMODATION

    All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

  • FITNESS RATING

    Low / Moderate

What's Not Included

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour
ationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

Key Aspects to Consider

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour. There are two days of walking in Tajik mountains, however they are not particularly strenuous. There are also a few long transfers of around 4-5 hours on some days.

Please note that during this tour there are two nights where you will be staying in a homestay so you should be prepared for basic facilities, such as shared bathrooms, during this time. We think that what you will be witnessing will easily make up for any discomfort!

Responsible Travel

With local people, culture and eco-systems in mind, responsible travel and sustainable tourism are at the core of Wild Frontiers. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our travellers but also benefits the people and places we visit.

When designing our tours, we actively seek out experiences that have a positive impact on the communities and precious environments we visit - from supporting social enterprises; resting our heads in rural homestays; and eating at locally owned restaurants; to helping fund conservation projects that protect wildlife and their habitats. 

Visit the Responsible Travel area of our website to read more, including the work of the Wild Frontiers Foundation through which we fundraise to aid community empowerment and education projects.

Visas

VISAS

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact a reputable visa agency. More details can be found here - https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/visa

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for Tajikistan only.

Passports should ideally be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the end of your tour.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

VACCINATIONS & ADDITIONAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENT

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for travellers to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

For all destinations, please make sure you are up-to-date with any standard vaccinations (e.g. MMR, Hepatitis A, Tetanus) as recommended by your local health care provider. 

For the most up-to-date information on all vaccination requirements and the most suitable anti-malarial tablets, we strongly suggest that you seek advice from your local travel centre or consult an official travel health website such as www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk or www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

Covid Testing: No mandatory testing is currently required for vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers.

If necessary further details will be sent out to you upon booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas & vaccinations are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Travelling Solo and single supplements

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip. 

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour except for the two nights we will be staying in a homestay, where you will be sharing a room with others.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.

Insurance

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

Check out our Q&As

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    We have a complete Covid-19 hub here: https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/en_GB/covid-hub

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 70% of passengers on our group tours are solo adventurers. Unlike many tour operators, we don’t believe in charging solo travellers a premium, so if you are happy to share a room with a fellow traveller of the same sex, you will pay exactly the same as a couple..Occasionally you may even end up with your own room. You can travel as a single traveller on any of our holidays, from our escorte

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2002

  • Do I need to be double-vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel with you?

    In most cases, yes. Not only are many destinations making double-vaccination a requirement of entry to the country and/or access to restaurants, museums etc., but additionally on all our group tours for the foreseeable future, for everyone’s peace of mind, we are asking that all clients be double vaccinated.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Catherine Daly  

Catherine Daly

Travelling through Central Asia with Wild Frontier

Travelling through Central Asia with Wild Frontiers truly ranks as one of my most memorable trips ever

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  • Free Date Changes

    Wild Frontiers allows you to make 2 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 90 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Wild Frontiers requires a minimum deposit of 200 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of wild frontiers charges.

    Up to 71 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 51 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

  • Wild Frontiers' COVID Promise

    You will have the right to transfer without any transfer fee, from any of our trips at ANY time if your trip is not Covid Viable (see below).*
    We will not ask you to pay your final balance if your trip is not yet Covid Viable.
    If your trip is not Covid Viable, by 30 days prior to departure at the latest, we will cancel your holiday and you can either transfer your funds to another departure or have a refund.**


    We will only consider a trip Covid Viable*** if pre-departure it meets all of the following criteria:

    There is no national lockdown or ban on foreign travel for the period when your trip is due to depart.
    Destinations on the tour must not be on the UK’s Red List. ****
    No destinations visited on the tour have in place any significant COVID-19 restrictions for travellers.
    Tourist visas (if required) are available.
    There is reliable airline access to/from the start/end of the trip.
    Following an assessment by both Wild Frontiers and our local partners we are confident that your trip is able to run in both a safe and enjoyable manner.*****




    ** If you were originally booked to travel before 30 April 2020 and transferred to a later date, or if you have a tailor-made booking, there may be some irrecoverable costs which we cannot refund. Please speak to us and we will be able to advise you if this is the case for your booking.
    ***Since our HQ is in London, Covid Viable status for our Group Tours will be assessed on UK-based travellers. However we are fully aware that many of our clients live in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. As such, when we deem a trip to now be Covid Viable, everyone booked will have a chance to review their own personal situation before deciding whether or not to remain booked on the trip. Anyone wishing to, will have the option to transfer without fees to another trip at this time. For tailor made bookings, we may also able to consider additional countries’ travel advice when deciding if a trip is Viable. Please discuss this with us at the time of booking.
    **** This relates to bookings from UK clients only. We may operate trips to destinations which the British FCDO advise against travel for Covid reasons. If this is the case, anyone wishing to will have the option to cancel with a refund or transfer to another trip. In some cases we may choose to offer a tour to a Red destination but these will be at both clients’ and Wild Frontiers’ discretion and will be subject to alternative conditions to be discussed on an ad hoc basis.
    *****If a destination, that we have deemed to be Covid Viable, subsequently fails any aspect of the criteria for two consecutive weeks, you will have the right under our Covid Promise to transfer without any fees.

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